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Youngkin will consider hundreds of bills in the coming weeks

Youngkin Executive Order Signature
Steve Helber
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin prepares to sign executive orders in the governors conference room at the Capitol, Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022, in Richmond, Va. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

The General Assembly session may be over, but the process of a bill moving from just an idea to becoming a law is far from over. Governor Glenn Youngkin still has hundreds of bills to consider.

So far, the governor has signed 31 bills and vetoed one. That leaves him with more than 800 bills on his desk to consider.

Quentin Kidd at Christopher Newport University says that means the governor and all of his administration officials are engaged in a flurry of activity right now behind closed doors.

"The governor has several weeks to consider these bills and to decide whether he's going to make any changes," Kidd says. "And the result of that is some intense lobbying that goes on almost as sort of like a shadow legislative session in which the governor is the only legislator."

Unlike most states, Virginia allows its governor to make changes to the legislation. So, in addition to being the chief executive he's also the most powerful lawmaker. David Ramadan at George Mason University's Schar School says the governor is likely taking a close look at legislation introduced by Democrats in swing districts.

"There's always the political calculation of any governor, whether they're Republican or Democrat, of do you want to give that member of the General Assembly a win that he or she can use in the upcoming election," Ramadan says.

The governor has 30 days to act on a bill after he receives it, which creates a rolling series of deadlines. Some of the bills were communicated during the session. Others are still being sent. That means the governor will be rolling out his decisions over the next month or so.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.